The Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America hasgiven its "Best Practices Award of Excellence" to Safeco Insurance,St. Paul Travelers, MetLife Auto & Home and Zurich NorthAmerica-Small Business

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The awards were presented Sunday at IIABA's national meeting inNew York City. by IIABA chief executive officer Robert A.Rusbuldt.

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IIABA gives out the awards to recognize companies that have madean imaginative, outstanding and unique contribution to enhancingthe independent agent system by advocating Best Practicesphilosophies. The IIABA's Best Practices Program providesperformance benchmarks and business strategies that serve as aguide in improving agency performance.

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All of the award recipients had won the award in prior years.Safeco and St. Paul Travelers were receiving their fifthconsecutive award, while MetLife Auto & Home and Zurich NorthAmerica-Small Business were presented the award for the second yearin a row.

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Safeco Insurance supports Best Practices with their stafftraining time and financial contributions," Mr. Rusbuldt said."They also include Best Practices materials in agent education andbusiness consulting and strongly believe the program builds better,powerful independent agents."

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Educational efforts also played a major role in St. PaulTravelers, based in St. Paul, Minn., receiving its fifthconsecutive Best Practices Award.

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"St. Paul Travelers has educated hundreds of agencies throughworkshops, seminars, agency/company planning sessions, and'Travelers Today,' an electronic newsletter," said Mr.Rusbuldt.

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MetLife Auto & Home, based in Warwick, R.I., was awarded itssecond consecutive Best Practices Award for its use of BestPractices tools during its National Agency Partnership & SalesSeminars, in which top agency personnel are brought in for aweek-long training period, IIABA said.

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"MetLife Auto & Home supports Best Practices by striving toinform all of their agents on the availability and benefits of theprogram," commented Mr. Rusbuldt.

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Zurich North America-Small Business was presented its award,IIABA said, for its efforts to reach out to agents.

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"We honor Zurich North America-Small Business for its incrediblesupport of Best Practices by reaching out to thousands of agencyrepresentatives through more than 200 sales workshops across thecountry," Mr. Rusbuldt said. "Its support of the program runs fromits field representatives to its top executives."

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